What things were you looking for while searching for a graduate or professional school program?
I mainly focused on the material that would be covered in the program, and how the topics would support my career goals.
What advice might you give to an undergraduate about their graduate or professional school search or application process?
I would suggest to always reach out to the director of the program. Whether that is during the application process, or after you have been accepted, speak to the director. Ask them about what they think makes their program stand out, and where their graduates typically go. Not only will you get valuable insights from the visionary in charge of the program, but you also will make yourself stand out from the other applicants.
What opportunities did you take advantage of to help prepare yourself for graduate or professional school?
I think that some of the best opportunities come through speaking with professors at GVSU. I spoke with professors from different departments frequently throughout the process, and felt so much more targeted in my efforts because of their advice.
How did you distinguish yourself from other candidates applying?
Those that I interviewed with for the graduate programs that I applied to all commented on my enthusiasm. Even though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do coming out of graduate school, I focused on what I did know, and really exuded excitement and enthusiasm for what the program could give me.
What were the main factors you considered important when comparing grad/professional schools?
The main factors that I looked into were the coursework, the culture of the program (I wanted a collaborative environment, not one that was cut-throat), and the job outcomes.
Was there a process or strategy that you used to narrow down your top schools of choice?
In the end, I visited the programs that were at the top of my list. I spoke with the directors or assistant directors, and asked them questions about why I should choose their program. During these visits I sat in on a class, and would see what the culture is like. This allowed me to see if I could envision myself in the program in the future.
What approaches and techniques did you use to prepare for a standardized test? How often? Did you find that successful?
I went a little overboard for studying for the GRE. I bought the standard big “studying for the GRE” book, as well as a vocab book. I studied for a minimum of two hours a day for a month. This is more than most people can put into it, but it was very successful.